After having the lecture about sustainable movement of last semester, and reading the relative blogs from Lee and Laurence, I finally saw a real Copenhagen in the Easter holiday. The tour in there lasted two more days, and I deeply felt that the positive impact brought by sustainable traffic system for people’s daily life in this city.

Transit-0riented Development (TOD) is an ideal model for the sustainable development of city. Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark, uses rail transportation to guide the development of city, and achieved good results for now. In this blog, we will see where we can learn from in Copenhagen TOD mode.

1. Promoting the TOD mode to guide the city expansion

The planning of community transit under the guidance of Transit Oriented Development (TOD) is emphasizing the diversification of land utilization and humanized design of internal bus, bicycle and pedestrian route. Which is the most widely used planning in terms of land and transportation integration currently. [1]

Under the long term planning guidance, Copenhagen has successfully implemented TOD policies to form a ’hand-shaped’ urban development pattern, and to create a sustainable urban transport system. This planning regulations that city development should be concentrated along a few narrow radial corridors, which are separated by the ‘green wedge’ (composed of forests, farmland and open green space). While holding the original function of the city center. Rail transit line radial network to guide the orderly expansion of city plays a decisive role. In other words, this kind of radial rail transit network plays a decisive role to guide the orderly expansion of city. [2]


The ’finger plan’ in Copenhagen (from


The sketch map of surrounding areas of the rail transit station (from

2.Building the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system to guide the city development 

In Copenhagen, the construction of rail transit system prior to or along with the land development. It is conducive to take advantage of rail transit system to guide the city development at beginning, and to create a compact, mixed land development pattern which is centered by rail transit station.

At the same time, we should take the implementation of BRT priority development policies to improve the pedestrian environment and bicycle facilities around the transit station, to limit car traffic and create a series of measures to encourage the high density and mixed development along the transit line. What`s more, we should reallocate the road power to build a rapid transit system and gradually adjust the land use near the BRT station along the whole corridors, and finally form into a development pattern which is dominated by BRT.

3.Choosing the proper TOD mode based on city scale

Different city has different land layout, and the corresponding travel distribution also has different characteristics. In this case, the choice of public transport mode for different scale cities should be on the basis of their own characteristics. Rather than the blind pursuit of large capacity and high standard public transport system.

Therefore, for the main passenger corridors in large-sized and medium-sized cities, we can learn from the experience of development along the rail transit in Copenhagen. Which means to encourage the high density and mixed development along transit lines, and to form the land formation of public transport priority. Secondly, for the relatively secondary traffic corridors in large-sized and medium-sized cities, as well as small cities, we can learn from the development experience of city center in Copenhagen. Which means to improve the local walking environment, to build a full bicycle facilities, and to encourage the mixed development near the transit station (not necessarily high density). All of these can encourage more people to choose walking, cycling and bus to travel. And then, to establish a people-oriented rather than car-oriented environment. [4, 5]

Briefly, under the guidance of overall planning for city development, Copenhagen has successfully used the rail transit system to construct a city in radial development form, and maintain a strong center area at the same time. What`s more, Copenhagen has effectively restricted the implementation of car travel without the negative influence for the overall travel quality in city. Its successful TOD experience is worth learning for us.

1Bicycle parking near the train station (images from the author)


Bicycle parking near the public transit station (images from the author)


The ubiquitous bicycle rental points/Rental bicycle equipped with navigation system/Instructions of rental bicycle (images from the author)

4The road cyclists (images from the author)

3Lively pedestrian street and old city center (images from the author)

5Lively Newport area and riverside (images from the author)


Vibrant neighborhoods (images from the author)


[1]Transit Oriented Development, Sustainable City Living The Milton. Retrieved on 2013-11-20.

[2]Robert Cervero. The Transit Metropolis [MJ Washington, D.C.: Island Press, 1998

[3] Hank Dittmar. The New Transit Town: Best Practices in Transit Oriented Development [MJ Washington, D.C.:Island Press, 2003

[4]Robe1t T. Dunphy, et al. Developing Around Transit: Strategies and Solutions That Work [MJ Washington, D.C.: Urban Land Institute, 2005

A video from Yotube: Transport for Quality Urban Life – Bike In København